ESPN’s Bill Belichick ‘Oral History’ Is One Of The Greatest Things I’ve Ever Read

ESPN’s Bill Belichick ‘Oral History’ Is One Of The Greatest Things I’ve Ever Read

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I love Bill Belichick. That’s a fact for most Patriots fans, but do we really know who Bill is? The answer is no. The “Hoodie” speaks vaguely about everything at almost every press conference he has, and we never get a look into who’s the real Belichick. We get glimpses here and there from NFL Network specials and what not, but this new ‘Oral History of Bill Belichick that will appear in the next ESPN the Magazine is the single greatest look into who our fearless leader truly is.

For starters, the article is located here and is set to hit newsstands this Friday.

For the people who want the spark-notes version of the piece, David Flemming, a writer for ESPN the Magazine, compiled tons of stories, anecdotes, and opinions from almost everyone whose path crossed with Belichick since he’s been in football.

It’s a fascinating read and I would urge any Patriots fan, or NFL addict to give it a read. The Oral History is literally Patriots Porn and reiterates  everything we hear leak out from Foxborough about Belichick. Here are my highlights.

 

Phil Savage(Browns Assistant, Scout, 1991-95): “His dad would take Bill to work when Bill was 9 or 10. Things would get busy and Bill would end up in a room or a closet by himself with a projector and a stack of film, and it’s like, ‘Son, take these tapes and tell me how many times they ran split back.’ And Bill just devoured it. He always saw video and film and the mental side of the game as the great equalizer for him.”

Think of yourself at 9 or 10 years old. Would you even have the attention span to sit and watch monotonous football film? I sure wouldn’t have, and this explains why Belichick is so meticulous and spends hours upon hours looking for opponent’s tendencies in the film room.

Former NFL Head Coach: “Bill likes creating the image of an outlaw, the tough guy. I think he really relishes it. But who is he really? He was kind of a geeky kid. Not that athletic. A failed football player.”

Fuck this former NFL coach. Show your face or at least put your name on this blasphemous comment. 99% of NFL coaches are failed players, that’s the main reason why they’re coaching dummy. And calling Belichick a nerd might be warranted, but he goes home and fucks this every night.

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Mike Munchak(Hall of Fame Guard and Coach, Oilers/Titans, 1982-2013): “You’ll go into a game, and say you’re a great run-stopping team, Bill would respond with, ‘We don’t care about averages, we’re going to switch it up and throw the ball 60 times.’ Next week, they might go the other way and hand the ball off 40 times. He’s willing to do whatever.”

I think this is what makes Belichick such a great coach. Every game is a different story to him and he loves coming up with creative game plans each and every week. That would tire a lot of coaches in the NFL out, but Bill is not human. You think he’s going to zig, and he zags, it’s part of his mystique.

Kirk Ferentz(Browns Assistant, 1993-95): “One of my first experiences was the interview, how extremely uncomfortable it was. You’ve seen him in press conferences. No matter what I said, there was a real poker face there. I mean, I was not getting any feedback. I was dying a thousand deaths, especially in our first visit, which happened the first night I got there. That was hard, and then I got sent back to Maine. Didn’t think I had a chance at all. A mutual friend talked to him over the weekend. He called me back and said, “No, he liked you.” I was like, “Oh my god. That’s a funny way to show it.” It was uncomfortable.”

So quintessential Belichick. He doesn’t show any emotion, not even in lighthearted interview with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. So much so, that Ferentz thought Belichick disliked him after the interview. It’s almost Bill’s way of testing a person out before he gives them a job. Can you deal with emotion distress and being uncomfortable when the coach is around.

Jon Robinson(Patriots Scout, 2002-09, and Director of College Scouting, 2009-13): “After my daughter was diagnosed at 6 with Type 1 diabetes, a week later on my desk there was a little teddy bear, with a Belichick hoodie on it. And he had written a little note: ‘I know this doesn’t cure it, but just something for Taylor to know we are thinking about her and praying for her.’ She knew it was from Coach. She named her bear Hoodie.”

Must be dusty in my cube at work, because my eyes all of a sudden got pretty watery. Not only is Belichick the best coach in NFL history, but he also has a soft spot and cares about his colleagues. No one and I mean no one sees this side of Bill.

Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions General Manager, Former Patriots Scout and Director of Pro Scouting, 2000-15): “I accepted the Lions job at 1 or 2 in the afternoon. His assistant said he was in the weight room on the treadmill. I went down there and he turned the treadmill down and he walked really slow and we just sat there and had a conversation for well over an hour about everything. The river just unloaded. I wish I had a tape recorder. I didn’t even have a piece of paper with me, so I was just trying to remember everything. People don’t know. They don’t see that guy on the treadmill. They see the guy in front of the press podium. One of the things Bill said to me was, ‘Don’t try to be me, try to be yourself.'”

Bill Belichick is a great teacher to his players, but he’s also a great teacher of his coaches and men at large. The wisdom the Hoodie posses is unmatched in NFL circles, and he’s happy for his subordinates when they get promoted and move on to bigger and better things. He knows it’s a reflection on him in the long run.

Amy Trask(Raiders CEO, 1997-2013): “In 1998 I recommended to Al Davis that we hire Bill as the Raiders head coach. Al decided to go with Jon Gruden, an offensive-minded coach, which surprised no one in the league. But Al liked Bill very much. Bill made it clear he would always tailor his schemes to maximize his players’ talents. That’s what the best coaches do, the best business people do and the best leaders do: They put their people in the best possible position to succeed. And that’s what Bill does. I was always tickled pink years later when Al would say to me, ‘Well, you sure can pick a coach, kid.'”

Thank fucking god that Al Davis was an idiot and didn’t hire Belichick when he had the chance. Is anyone else surprised Al Davis didn’t listen to a women? I’m more surprised he even employed one.

Mike Compton(Patriots Guard, 2001-03): “A bad storm had come through and I overslept. After the team meeting I said, ‘Coach, I apologize, the power in Cumberland, Rhode Island, was blacked out because of the storm.’ He just looked at me and asked if I knew where a drugstore was and why don’t I go buy one of those stopwatches that have an alarm on your wrist and set it. Then he just walked out. I got a letter from the team a few days later saying I had been fined for being late. I bought that alarm watch and have worn it ever since.”

Belichick is nonsense and that will rub some players the wrong way, but the winning speaks for itself. If Bill is putting in 17 hour days to prepare for the team’s next opponent, he feels like the players should be doing the same thing.

Kevin Faulk(Patriots Running Back, 1999-2011): “When he first got to New England, for almost three years I’d see Bill in the hallway going to breakfast at the facility. Now, I’m from Louisiana. I don’t care who you are, I’m going to say ‘Good morning, how you doing? How’s everything today?’ But for the longest time I’d walk right past Coach Belichick, say ‘Good morning!’ and I’d get nothing back. Nothing. I said good morning to him for years. Then, one day I said it and he finally looked up and said, ‘Good morning, Kevin,’ and so I reached out and I stopped him, and he was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, Kevin, what are you doing? What’s wrong?’ And I said, ‘You said good morning! Do you know how long I’ve been saying good morning to you and you haven’t said a word?’ He just says, ‘Aw, Kevin, my bad’ and walks away.”

This is the best story in the article. Kevin Faulk is the nicest fucking guy to ever wear a Patriots jersey and Belichick ignored him for YEARS, not just months, YEARS. Bill isn’t one for small talk and some might take that as being anti-social, but when he’s at the facility its all about business.

Rick Venturi: “He has a very dry, cynical sense of humor. A couple of times we’d hit the parking lot at the same time in the morning, and on the way into the facility he’d comment on The Howard Stern Show. ‘Was that hilarious or what?’ he’d say. He’s a real closet rock ‘n’ roll nut. He traveled with the Rolling Stones for a few weeks through Europe one summer. Bon Jovi used to come to Cleveland and catch passes in practice. He had a suite in Cleveland and we all went to Pink Floyd together as a group. I didn’t see him with his lighter out, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I did.”

Bill likes to rock, because of course he does.

Terrell McClain:(Patriots defensive tackle, 2012): The Patriots are more like a private school. They don’t like business getting outside. They like to keep everything inside, even scouting reports. If a piece of paper is on the floor, it gets crumpled up and thrown away. They make sure you turn everything back in and shred all that stuff.”

I don’t even know who this fucking guy is but he’s spot on. Belichick keeps everyone so tight lipped I bet the CIA is jealous of what the Patriots got going.

Aqib Talib: “Once, in practice, Brady threw a seam ball that was intercepted, and Bill, man, he chewed Tom out, saying, ‘You got 130 career interceptions,’ or whatever it was, ‘and half of them are on this route. You keep doing the same s— over and over and this is what happens.’ Right then you know two things about the Patriots and Bill Belichick: Everybody is treated the same, and you better get your s— together.”

This is why players, like Talib, who struggled to fit in on other teams love the Patriots. Even, Tom Brady gets no preferential treatment. If you suck or fuck up, its on you and Bill will let you know about it.

Heath Evans: “You’re in a Friday red zone meeting, Bill pulls out a sheet of paper and starts asking, ‘Hey, Kevin Faulk, what’s the Indianapolis Colts’ favorite blitz on third down and short in the red zone in the fourth quarter?’ Kevin would give an answer and he’d be like, ‘Heath, do you agree?’ And I’d be like, ‘Yes sir, I agree, but they also like to run this one.’ Corey would just make up answers if he didn’t study. Bill would ask, ‘Hey, Corey Dillon, what do you think about their two answers?’ And if Corey would say, ‘Yeah, I agree, Coach,” he’d be like, ‘OK, Corey, if you agree, then tell me what’s their favorite blitz on first-and-10 inside the red zone?’ He never let anyone get away with maybe knowing or not knowing.”

I would of loved to watch Corey Dillon and Bill Belichick interact. One who’s overly anal about every detail, while the other could care less about the details and just wants to tote the rock.

Rosevelt Colvin: “Take away those Super Bowl losses to the Giants, or add one or two more in the next few years, and the debate about his legacy is easy: You have to start seriously thinking about renaming the Lombardi trophy after this dude.”

I don’t hate this idea Rosevelt, I don’t hate it at all.

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